Poem of the Day for July 14, 2016

Patria

Who smiles there? Is it
A stray spirit,
Or woman fair?
Sombre yet soft the brow!
Bow, nations, bow;
O soul in air,
Speak – what art thou?

In grief the fair face seems –
What means those sudden gleams?
Our antique pride from dreams
Starts up, and beams
Its conquering glance, –
To make our sad hearts dance,
And wake in woods hushed long
The wild bird’s song.
Angel of Day!
Our Hope, Love, Stay,
Thy countenance
Lights land and sea
Eternally,
Thy name is France
Or Verity.

Fair angel in thy glass
When vile things move or pass,
Clouds in the skies amass;
Terrible, alas!
Thy stern commands are then:
“Form your battalions, men,
The flag display!”
And all obey.
Angel of might
Sent kings to smite,
The words in dark skies glance,
“Mené, Mené,” hiss
Bolts that never miss!
Thy name is France,
Or Nemesis.

As halcyons in May,
O nations, in his ray
Float and bask for aye,
Nor know decay!
One arm upraised to heaven
Seals the past forgiven;
One holds a sword
To quell hell’s horde,
Angel of God!
Thy wings stretch broad
As heaven’s expanse!
To shield and free
Humanity!
Thy name is France,
Or Liberty!

Victor Hugo

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